14 ways to identify and communicate your unique value proposition to employers was originally published on College Recruiter.

14 ways to identify and communicate your unique value proposition to employers
A circled word, career, surrounded by other words: education, interests, goals, vision, talents, values, skillls.

Those early in their careers, and even those who are many years into their careers, often don’t grasp just how arbitrary hiring decisions can be. Many candidates assume, incorrectly, that they’ll receive a job offer if they can convince the employer that they’re well-qualified. Yes, being qualified matters greatly, but employers often receive multiple applications from candidates who are well-qualified. In those cases, employers will typically look beyond qualifications and consider which candidate, for example, has the lowest risk of failing.

If you believe yourself to be well-qualified, how do you separate yourself out from the other candidates who might have similar qualifications so that you don’t get trapped in the secondary process where the arbitrary decisions driven by unfounded assumptions often occur? One way is to first identify your own unique value proposition to that employer for that job and then communicate that to the recruiter, hiring manager, or whoever is driving the hiring decision for the employer.

We recently asked 14 thought leaders to each share an effective way to identify and communicate your unique value proposition to employers:

  • List Your Proudest Achievements
  • Use Company-Specific Scenarios
  • Showcase Tangible Results
  • Understand Company’s Goals
  • Reflect on Impactful Anecdotes
  • Translate Abilities into Solutions
  • Highlight Continuous Learning
  • Customize Your Application
  • Quantify Your Accomplishments
  • Leverage Unique Perspectives
  • Create an Impact Portfolio
  • Differentiate with Distinct Qualities
  • Tell Memorable Stories
  • Seek Candid Feedback

List Your Proudest Achievements

An exercise I’d recommend is to make a list of all the previous work or study experiences you have that you feel proud of, and then use this as a guide for finding your unique value proposition. 

What do you think you did well in all of these projects that makes you feel proud of them? Did the project turn out really well? Did it go poorly, but you found a way to salvage the situation? Did you do something new and unexpected to achieve results? 

I find that pride and your unique value are often tied together because you tend to take pride in the things you do best, which is the starting point for articulating your unique value proposition nine times out of ten, in my experience.

Dragos Badea, CEO, Yarooms

Use Company-Specific Scenarios

Use scenarios specific to the operations of the company when describing your skills and where your “fit” could be in terms of the role, and potentially even how you can develop the role with the skills and expertise you have. The more you can paint that picture in the minds of the employees interviewing you, the better.

Tracey Beveridge, HR Director, Personnel Checks

Showcase Tangible Results

One effective approach to communicating your unique value proposition is by showcasing tangible results and achievements. Instead of simply relying on your listed skills and qualifications on your resume, emphasize the specific accomplishments that highlight your impact in your previous roles.

For example, instead of stating “strong project management skills,” you can share how you successfully led a cross-functional team to complete a project ahead of schedule, resulting in a 20% increase in client satisfaction and a 15% boost in revenue.

Quantifying your contributions helps demonstrate your capabilities. It also provides concrete evidence of your ability to deliver measurable results, making you a more compelling candidate in the eyes of potential employers.

Johannes Larsson, Founder and CEO, JohannesLarsson.com

Understand Company’s Goals

As a recruiter, I know how important it is for candidates to place themselves in the bigger picture of a company. It requires understanding a company’s historical successes and future goals intimately, but those who pull it off stand out from the crowd. In fact, I recently had two applicants up for the same role. 

Both were experienced and qualified on a skill level; their resumes were almost identical. But only one was able to articulate how those attributes would fit into both the existing company culture and propel it forward. That was the worker who landed the role. Linn Atiyeh Founder & CEO, Bemana https://www.bemana.us/practice-area/industrial/

Linn Atiyeh, CEO, Bemana

Reflect on Impactful Anecdotes

Reflecting on past experiences and achievements is a powerful way to identify and communicate your unique value proposition to employers. Focus on specific anecdotes that can showcase not only your skills but also your initiative, problem-solving abilities, and impact. Showcase them in a way that directly addresses the specific needs and goals of the employer.

Kimberley Tyler-Smith, VP of Strategy and Growth, Resume Worded

Translate Abilities into Solutions

Rather than leading with qualifications, distinguish yourself by illustrating how you solve problems. Early on, I focused on messenger over message—trying to impress through credentials rather than clarify my contribution. Quickly, I learned that sounding vaguely remarkable matters less than being specifically relevant. 

So now, I advise candidates: map your differentiators to their impact, then translate abilities into solutions. Identify pressing yet overlooked needs facing the role through researching pain points and industry trends. Then showcase precisely how your blend of talents and experience positions you to handily address those challenges better than other applicants. 

Perhaps you bridge technology and creativity through a coding background paired with design skills, ideal for digitally-driven innovation gaps. Vividly articulate how this intersection manifests into workplace solutions, sharing examples of you intuitively reconciling IT roadblocks through inventive workarounds. 

Come equipped with the data-driven hindsight that managers often lack in dynamic environments. Proactively frame your capabilities around comprehending their obstacles in human terms and orchestrating answers.

Lou Reverchuk, Co-founder and CEO, EchoGlobal

Highlight Continuous Learning

Participating in professional development courses and earning certifications relevant to their desired role can help job seekers underline their unique value proposition. This approach demonstrates a commitment to their profession, a willingness to invest in their skills, and an eagerness to stay ahead of industry trends. 

In my opinion, job seekers should highlight these achievements in their applications and discussions with potential employers, showcasing how this continuous learning makes them uniquely qualified and proactive compared to other candidates.

Phil Strazzulla, Founder, SelectSoftware Reviews

Customize Your Application

In my experience, a potent method for pinpointing and conveying my unique value proposition to potential employers involves conducting a thorough self-assessment to identify my primary strengths, skills, and achievements. 

Once I have a solid understanding of what sets me apart, I customize my resume, cover letter, and interview responses to highlight these distinctive qualities and demonstrate how they align with the employer’s needs and objectives. 

Providing specific examples and measurable accomplishments has been crucial in effectively conveying my value proposition and distinguishing myself from other candidates.

Henry Allen, Digital Marketing Manager, Loyalty Lion

Quantify Your Accomplishments

Your unique value proposition is why an employer should choose you over the competition. Quantifying accomplishments whenever possible is an extremely effective way of identifying and communicating this. Numbers add credibility, paint a clear picture of your impact, and make your achievements stand out in a sea of other resumes. They speak a universal language that hiring managers can easily understand and appreciate. For example, “Increased sales by 25% within the first quarter” packs a much stronger punch than simply ‘increased sales’.

When writing your resume, go further than simply stating past job responsibilities. Instead, use this opportunity to highlight specific instances where your actions resulted in measurable outcomes. Did you implement a new system that saved time or resources? Did your leadership lead to project completion under budget or ahead of schedule? By quantifying your accomplishments, you inject data and results into your resume, making your value clearer.

Nicole Gabrail, Marketing Coordinator, Achievable

Leverage Unique Perspectives

Highlight how your skill set and past experiences will allow you to excel in the role you’re applying for. This is especially important for applicants going through a career shift, whether it’s seeking a new role in the same industry, transferring to a new industry altogether, or both. 

Emphasize how this gives you a unique perspective on things and allows you to bring something new to the table because of the wisdom you’ve amassed from your previous roles. To best illustrate this, paint them a picture by providing real-life use cases or giving hypothetical workplace scenarios where your expertise can be well applied and give you an edge in performing your tasks.

Baidhurya Mani, Founder, SellCoursesOnline

Create an Impact Portfolio

One effective yet often overlooked way to identify and communicate your unique value proposition to employers involves creating a personal “impact portfolio.” This portfolio goes beyond the traditional resume or CV, showcasing real-world examples of your work, including projects you’ve led, problems you’ve solved, or initiatives you’ve driven that had a measurable impact on your previous organizations. 

By curating a collection of tangible outcomes, success stories, and professional milestones, you can visually and contextually demonstrate your skills, achievements, and the unique value you bring. This method allows for a deeper engagement with potential employers, providing concrete evidence of your capabilities and how they translate into benefits for their organization.

Communicating your unique value proposition through an impact portfolio can be particularly effective in interviews or networking. Instead of merely stating what you can do, you’re showing it, turning abstract skills into undeniable evidence of your professional worth. For instance, if your strength lies in improving operational efficiency, including before-and-after metrics from a project you spearheaded could vividly illustrate your ability to transform processes and drive results. 

By aligning the content of your impact portfolio with the specific needs and challenges of the employer, you effectively bridge the gap between your skills and their impact, making it clear why you are not just a suitable candidate but the candidate they need. This approach sets you apart from other applicants and makes your unique value proposition unmistakably clear and memorable.

Vaibhav Kakkar, CEO, Digital Web Solutions

Differentiate with Distinct Qualities

Effectively convey your unique value proposition to employers by highlighting what distinguishes you from other candidates. This can be achieved by highlighting your skills, experiences, achievements, or any other qualities that make you stand out. Employers are always on the lookout for exceptional individuals who can bring something new and valuable to their team. 

Therefore, by presenting your unique value proposition, you can differentiate yourself from the competition and grab the attention of potential employers. This also gives them a clear understanding of what you bring to the table and how you can add value to their organization.

John McDougall, President and CEO, McDougall Interactive

Tell Memorable Stories

Employers and recruiters remember stories. Don’t just state your qualities—explain in colorful detail how you’re proactive, creative, or hard-working.

Corey Schwitz, CEO and Founder, Skydog Ops

Seek Candid Feedback

Ask for candid feedback about how you are unique from those you trust: your family, friends, co-workers, etc. When you hear the same feedback from multiple people, it’s a good sign that there’s validity to their comments. 

As they help you identify your unique skill set or differentiators, think about how those would be beneficial to a potential employer. Think about how your UVP as an individual could solve problems or remove obstacles for a company. That perspective will help you create a narrative you can share as part of the interview process.

Logan Mallory, Keynote Speaker, Logan Mallory Speaks

By College Recruiter
College Recruiter believes that every student and recent grad deserves a great career.